In September, I wrote about Tommy and Marie Costello’s suit against the City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
They argued that the fortune-telling ban that forced them to shut down their business last December is an illegal restraint on their rights to free speech and due process per the US and Mississippi constitutions.
Last week, the city responded with their answer, claiming that the present law does not violate US or state constitutions.
They also contend that in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of their city, Hattiesburg has a legitimate interest in regulating, or in this case outlawing, psychic businesses.
This sounds a lot like the argument made by Chesterfield County, Virginia a few weeks ago.
In that case, the Virginia Federal District Court upheld the right of Chesterfield to heavily regulate what they describe as ‘fortune-telling’.
It flies in the face, however, of the 2010 decision by the Maryland High Court that prohibitions on such businesses are in fact violations of the federal constitution.
It’ll be interesting to see how the courts decide. As might be expected, I’m rooting for free speech.